OZ Cabbie March 2014
We have pushed the envelope a bit far this month. Our official publication dated was 14 March so we are more than a week late. My apology.
Unfortunately I can’t blame it on my printers or a computer breakdown; rather it was caused by a recently discovered mental illness, which creeps up on some people unexpectedly without warning. It’s called “Information Overload Disorder”.
It attacks mainly editors of taxi magazines and is caused by us having to read a relentless stream of voluminous laborious government reviews, reports and surveys and piles of submissions from concerned stakeholders before condensing them into a digestible 1 or 2-page format. Will I survive? I’m much better now, thank you.
We Aussies are a compassionate lot. We give generously to charities including those that help people who have fled war-torn countries and live in squalid, putrid, unhygienic refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Our humanity and compassion have no bounds ... as long as they don’t try to flee to Australia. A January poll had 60 per cent of Australians urging the Abbott government to ‘’increase the severity’’ of our policies towards asylum seekers. Makes you proud to live in Australia, doesn’t it?
The NSW taxi regulator, IPART, is about to release its final report on the 2014/15 fare increase and licence release. The latter could mean that the Government will put a total of 341 plates out for tender this year. The values of last year’s winning bids were finally published last month, but not the list of buyers’ names. However, the name list from the year before (2011/12) is on the NSW Transport website. There is not one western name among them. In fact, 90% were Arabic names with a few Indian thrown in for good measure. Does that mean that people with an Anglo-European background are too smart or not smart enough to want their own taxi? Tim Hoy delves into that and the proposed freeze of NSW fares in Morally bankrupt, taxi regulators prey on the ignorant, the poorly educated and the naive.
The Melbourne industry too is expecting a final decision on fares this month from its fare regulator, the ESC. As fares have stayed frozen for the past 6 years an increase seems inevitable. The question is only “how much”? Country cab companies on the other hand are now told to set their own fares.
Melbourne has also got a new taxi network, CABiT. The city’s four largest fleet owners launched it earlier this month. Combined they own 500 cabs, which should be enough to take on the duopoly of Silver Top and 13CABS.
Psst! There is already a third, but small, network in Melbourne, Platinum. It was accredited in 2008, but for some reason nobody ever mentions it, so I won’t either. No, the big news from Melbourne is CABiT and what is happening with the introduction of ‘minicabs’ i.e. petite hire cars. You can read all about it in Gang of 4 Melbourne fleet owners have finally launched their own network - named ‘CABiT’.
Finally there is ABC TV. This month the viewing public were in for two treats. Firstly 7.30 NSW did a terrific report of the dangerous mechanical condition of Sydney cabs. Four days later the satirical consumer show “The Checkout” gave the taxi industry a roasting singling out Cabcharge for special treatment. Read the full reviews in The ABC puts the spotlight on the taxi industry on “7.30” and “The Checkout”.
The only news we have from Queensland is that plates in Brisbane are now fetching upwards of $540,000. Otherwise all is calm on the Northern Front. Well, we do hear rumours. Maybe next month.